A CHOIR bringing together school children and people living with Parkinson's has been hailed for nurturing inter-generational links.

The Parkinson's singing group at Alva Academy has seen students reach out to residents in the area to explore the physical benefits of breathing and vocal exercises as well as the joys of singing and socialising.

The initiative has been so successful that the Parkinson's UK charity has invited the academy to deliver workshops at a national event to allow professionals to observe the benefits of music and singing.

The choir has been a firm favourite at school events of all types in recent years and educators last week sent off a submission for an Education Scotland Community Learning and Development Award.

Key to the success of the choir has been the relationships growing between the younger and older generations.

Gordon Bell, choir member and former head at the school, said: "It's so inspiring, even for us old folk to see young people being so selfless and caring.

"As a former headteacher and a Parkinson's sufferer, it is humbling to share a stage with such generous, respectful young adults."

One of the biggest impacts for those taking part has been an improvement in speech, an important area that can be a common problem for people living with the condition.

The initiative has been beneficial for students as well, as one said: "They [choir members] have become like family.

"They offer me advice, make me feel worthy and show me what determination and positivity look like.

"I am stronger, happier and more confident going into my exams now and determined to fulfil my dream of becoming a teacher."

The choir is close to the heart of music teacher David Clifford, who started it with fellow teachers after his own dad was diagnosed.

Unwavering, his parents became Parkinson's UK ambassadors and the teacher was inspired to form the choir to help improve people's speech.

Pupils taking part have been able to convert volunteer hours into accolades as well with Duke of Edinburgh, Saltire and other awards collected.

The choir is open to anyone living with Parkinson's disease and no prior singing experience is necessary.

Support for people is available through the Parkinson's Stirling and Clackmannanshire Branch which meets at the Cochrane Hall in Alva.

The next monthly meeting is today (Wednesday), March 2, from 1-3pm.